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Afghan Family Detained at Los Angeles Airport to be Freed

  • Ken Schwartz

Attorney Robert Blume speaks to reporters outside federal court in Santa Ana, California, after an Afghan family of five who had traveled to the United States on special visas were detained on arrival, but were ordered released from custody March 6, 2017.

An Afghan family with special visas that has been detained since arriving in Los Angeles last week will be freed, their lawyer said Monday.

A federal judge had blocked authorities from removing the family from California and said a hearing would be held.

It is unclear why the family was held in custody. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency had no comment, other than to say it will comply with the judge's order.

The unidentified family — a father, mother and three children, ages 7, 6, and 8 months — arrived in the United States last Thursday on their way to Seattle, Washington, to resettle, but they were detained at Los Angeles International Airport. They had been granted special immigration visas after going through extreme vetting.

The father worked for the U.S. government in Afghanistan. Their lawyer, Mark Rosenbaum, said he is pleased the family will be freed, but says they never should have been detained in the first place.

"This individual served this country and assisted the military. This is not the recruiting message we should be sending," Rosenbaum said.

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